Read Ezekiel 15-17 at Bible Gateway.
A phrase is beginning to be repeated over and over again in these chapters in Ezekiel: “so that you will know that I am the LORD.” When Israel was dwelling in slavery in Egypt, the LORD did all He did to deliver Israel from slavery, and through it Israel and Egypt would know that YHVH was the LORD. He was teaching them what “I am YHVH” meant — that YHVH was and is the Passover Lamb, who delivers from the angel of death, and slavery; whose name means, “Behold the hands, behold the nails.”
And now as Ezekiel is recounting to Israel her sins and abominations, in forgetting the LORD God and all He has done, and in forsaking the covenant of faithfulness, which was like a marriage covenant between Israel and the LORD, the LORD is again saying to Israel that He is doing all He is doing, so that she will know that He is YHVH.
An astonishing chiastic structure reveals itself in Eze 16:
1A: Eze 16:60, The LORD will establish an everlasting covenant with Israel;
1B: Eze 16:61, Israel will remember her ways and be ashamed;
CENTRAL AXIS: Eze 16:62, “And I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD;”
2B: Eze 16:63a, That Israel may remember and be ashamed;
2A: Eze 16:63b, When the LORD provides atonement for all she has done.
The covenant which Israel had forsaken, the LORD will establish with Israel, and then Israel will know what I am YHVH means. “Establish” in Hebrew is to cause to stand up, to make erect; to cause to endure, as fixed, valid, and proven; to fulfill, to persist. The LORD already established a covenant with Israel, in which YHVH would be Israel’s God and Israel would be YHVH’s people, at Mt. Sinai. They were to walk in His ways to maintain the covenant, which was the Ten Commandments (Deu 4:13).
They were unable to maintain it. His covenant people forsook Him. Would any other people on earth have done any better? No! But all we like sheep have gone astray; we have each one turned to our own way (Isa 53:6). But the LORD is not done with His people. He is going to teach them what “I am YHVH” means — and He will teach them, when He fixes more firmly His covenant with Israel as an everlasting covenant, when He provides atonement for all her sin and unfaithfulness.
He fixed His covenant firmly, when YHVH came in the flesh and revealed to the world what “Behold the hands, behold the nails” means. By that act, He confirmed His covenant with Israel so that it was an everlasting covenant. It was not a covenant which depended upon her, but one which depended on Him. Was she an idolatrous and unfaithful wife, because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? God will provide atonement for her, and moreover, give her a completely new heart with His Law inscribed on it, and He will cause her who was famous for her unfaithfulness, to be faithful from the inside out. He will make her a new creation.
Then she will know that He is the LORD — He is YHVH, the one who delivers from bondage, darkness and sin, who moreover takes our punishment upon Himself, and transforms us from the inside out into a Bride fit for Him. This is the reason for our joy as we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, which prophesies of the wedding supper of the Lamb who ALONE is worthy!
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